Pettersen has sights on No. 1

By Associated PressFebruary 8, 2012, 1:52 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia – Suzann Pettersen of Norway opens the LPGA season Thursday with her sights set on the formidable task of overtaking top-ranked Yani Tseng.

And she knows it might take more than one season to get there.

Pettersen and Tseng tee off in the Women’s Australian Open with a strong field at Royal Melbourne Golf Club including world No. 4 Christie Kerr, No. 7 Jiyai Shin, No. 9 Stacy Lewis, No. 10 Brittany Lincicome and Australia’s former world No. 1 and four-time champion Karrie Webb. Pettersen, who has been No. 2 to Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa and now Tseng, says she has what it takes to assume the top ranking.

“It’s always been a dream of mine,” she said. “And I definitely think my game is there.

“Yani’s got a great head start over all of us and it’s probably going to take more than a season to catch up with her.”

Tseng has shown off her new, more powerful swing at Royal Melbourne, honing the tweaks to her technique as she familiarized herself with the sandbelt course.

Tseng started 2011 with a title at the Women’s Australian Open and went on to win a total of 12 tournaments, including two majors and seven on the LPGA to finish a long way clear atop the rankings.

The 23-year-old Taiwanese started preparing for the 2012 Australian tournament - which kicks off a three-week Asian swing before the LPGA Tour moves to U.S. soil next month in Arizona - by watching the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne’s Composite course last November.

Pettersen said she tried to ignore Tseng’s approach, preferring to concentrate on her own game.

“I look at my game and what I can do better to get the most out of it every day,” she said. “She’s a great No. 1, she’s very aggressive, very fearless and obviously has a lot of confidence at the moment. But I’ve beaten her before so I know you can do it.”

Pettersen is now looking for consistency, transferring her good form on the tour to major titles.

“I look back at 2011 as a pretty good year,” she said. “I had three wins, there was a lot of consistent golf but I wasn’t really in contention for the majors, which was a bit painful.

“That’s one thing I would like to do, try to prepare better in the weeks before the majors so I can go in less stressed about how the game is feeling.”

Pettersen also paid close attention to the Presidents Cup in preparation for this week’s tournament, noting the number of balls that sped across the glassy greens.

“I may play a bit more conservatively. You have to take what the course gives you each day. I know it can swap around very easily and change drastically from morning to afternoon,” she said.

Also in the field this week are new Australian Ladies Masters champion Christel Boeljon of The Netherlands and 14-year-old New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko, who recently became the youngest winner of a pro event with victory in the New South Wales Open.

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Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."